The 'sandwich generation' is feeling the pressure from both sides.

The 'sandwich generation' is feeling the pressure from both sides.

The ‘sandwich generation’ is feeling the squeeze

More and more people are finding themselves struggling with the demands of looking after children and aging relatives at the same time.

The “sandwich generation” is defined as people who are juggling both the needs of their children and aging parents at the same time; and the results of a poll released last week by the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) show that nine out of 10 British Columbians who form part of the sandwich generation report that they are experiencing challenges providing this care.

More than half the respondents to the poll said they have difficulty finding time to visit their aging parents due to work and/or busy schedules (64 per cent). Sixty per cent said it was a challenge to keep informed about the health status of a parent, while 56 per cent said it was difficult to afford the costs associated with caring.

Daniel Fontaine, CEO for BCCPA, said that the poll confirms what many people have been hearing about in their social circles for some time. “It’s so common. I’ve heard story after story of people having to take time off work to look after aging parents. That’s what prompted the survey.

“Taking care of elderly relatives is enough of a task. When you’re managing children as well it’s a real juggling act.”

A report from BMO found that at some point in their lives, almost half of all Canadians (46 per cent, or 13 million) aged 15 and older have provided some level of care to a family member or friend. The majority of those providing care are in the 45 to 64 age group.

From 2007 to 2012, the number of caregivers aged over 45 grew to 4.5 million; a 20 per cent increase. More than 75 per cent of these caregivers worked at a paid job or business. In 2012, an estimated 8.1 million people had provided care in that year alone, and 28 per cent (2.2 million) also had children under the age of 18.

Fontaine says that “There’s definitely a squeeze there, in terms of the seniors’ piece. There’s some support, but many people don’t have access to it or only have limited access. Home care can be a real relief, and so can adult day care, where seniors can socialize, go on outings, perhaps get therapy. But adult day care isn’t as common as it should be. I think there’s a really significant need to increase this around the province.”

Residential care is an option when aging parents can no longer stay at home, but Fontaine notes that waiting times to get into residential care have gone up in recent months. “We’re moving in the wrong direction.”

When it comes to the financial impact of juggling the needs of children who still need support and parents going into care, Fontaine says that the costs are many. “It goes beyond just paying for care. People have to take time off work or manage their hours, postpone retirement, drive around, and juggle two homes.”

When people have to take time off work—sometimes for an extended period—to look after aging relatives, there is a definite impact on the economy. “It’s a huge cost to the provincial and federal governments,” says Fontaine. “And there’s a huge cost to yourself, such as the stress of constantly being worried about mom and dad.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Shoppers will be able to get their hands on signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ new gin at B.C. liquor stores this summer. (Twitter/Ryan Reynolds)
Ryan Reynold’s Aviation Gin autographed and coming to B.C. stores

This summer 100 bottles will be available to the public for purchase across five B.C. liquor stores

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Most Read